The Bridge Center, a non-profit (501)(c)( 3) recreation center that serves children with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities, recently announced the 2010-11 schedule for its newest program, Bridges to Independence: College, Career, Community. The program, which serves teens and young adults preparing to either attend college or join the work force, will be held weekly on Saturdays, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and on Wednesdays, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“Bridges to Independence helps teens with disabilities, including Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism, prepare for the transition to independent living as a college student or through meaningful employment,” said Jennifer Harber, executive director of The Bridge Center. “While these teens show very strong skills in many areas, college and employment can create real challenges for them — time management, taking care of themselves by preparing meals and doing laundry, and complicated social expectations. Our program provides them some practical skills that support both academic and employment success.”
The program is tailored for teens and young adults (ages 14- 25) and provides instruction and practice in the skills needed for independent living such as laundry, cooking and cleaning, and balancing a checkbook, as well as career and college focused skills such as completing a job or college application, interviewing, and selecting the best environment. Additionally, the program provides supervised volunteer work experiences throughout The Bridge Center’s 20-acre campus. An additional emphasis is placed on social and communication skills, especially self-awareness and skills for working as part of a group.
In addition to the “College, Career, Community” program, The Bridge Center offers an additional program, Bridges to Independence: Work, Friendship, Life. This program is for teens and young adults (ages 14-35) to provide instruction in the skills necessary for increased living independence and vocational success, as well as structured social and recreational opportunities. Skills addressed include cleaning, cooking skills and safety, and money handling for greater independence. As with the other Bridges to Independence program, participants practice their work skills throughout campus.
“The Bridges to Independence programs are a key element of our mission at The Bridge Center; they focus on helping young people develop their skills for more independent participation in their communities,” said Harber.
For more information about the Bridges to Independence programs or other programs at The Bridge Center, visit www.TheBridgeCtr.org.
About The Bridge Center
The Bridge Center, which is the new name for Handi Kids, was founded by the Knights of Pythias in 1963. The Bridge Center’s beautiful 20-acre campus is located in Bridgewater, MA and provides accessible play and skill-building activities for all children regardless of the nature or severity of their disability. Year-round activities include nine weeks of summer camp, therapeutic horseback riding, school vacation camps, holiday parties, Saturday programs, teen programs, vocational training, after-school activities and family support groups.
The Bridge Center also offers carefully designed summer programs and social skills groups designed to meet the social and behavioral needs of children with Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and related challenges.
If you’d like to learn more about The Bridge Center’s programs or are interested in becoming a supporter, please call (508) 697-7557 or send an e-mail to info@TheBridgeCtr.org.